Tuesday, June 4, 2013

All of Me by Lori Wilde

Skeptic scale: ♥♥♥♥

The thing I liked most about this book was the kick-ass h. She's tall, she's focused and she just gets things done. In spite of some silliness involving "visions" and "fantasies" coming to life, the story was amusing and sweet and kept me from rolling my eyes at all the stuff about the legend behind a magical wedding veil. 

She: Tough-girl county prosecutor who doesn't believe in magical HEAs but does believe in "hard work, success, productivity and justice". She inherits a lake house from her mentor and when her career seems to be falling apart around her, she adopts a dog, wraps up her big city life and heads to that lake house to figure out what to do with her life.

He: Widower who's still in mourning for the wife he lost to cancer. He moved to his wife's much-loved vacation town and is having a tough time moving on and dealing with his grief. 

Conflict: The H & h meet and have immediate, explosive chemistry that they both (very sensibly) acknowledge but both also realize they're not in a great position to be with each other given that 1) he's still grieving and 2) she doesn't really want to get involved. There is also a legal dispute over the lake house property between the H & h. 

What I liked:
1) I liked that the h was badass. LW didn't try to interject any contrived scenes where the h acts all damsel-in-distress-y because that would have just not worked with her character. The h behaves in character the whole time, and whenever she doesn't, we can clearly see why she doesn't.

2) I liked the description of the relationship she has with her mentor. And also the description of her relationship with a group of female friends. I am always suspicious when an h is described as being totally alone, like she's managed to conduct a life without creating any bonds with anyone. Makes me think she may not be worth knowing (AKK! What a cruel and horrible thing to say!) But this h, although not blessed in the area of great romantic relationships with men, at least demonstrates that she is able to have great friendships with other human beings - so I believe there is hope for her yet!

What I felt was only "meh":
1) The H seemed a little beta. He was good-humored and hot and all that, but because he's so down from the grief over his wife's death, he sort of a "washed out" version of what we imagine he might have been, and might be again once he finds love again. I felt really sorry for him, of course, and I was glad there were at least moments we could see what a fun and interesting person he was, but he just seemed very passive for much of the time.

2) There was some really cheese ball bits and references. Oh boy. Any mention of "When Harry Met Sally" and the whole can girls and guys be Just Friends really gets my goat. Sister, please. Yes. Girls and guys should mostly just be friends. She is missing out on a lot of potential amazing friendships otherwise. You only need one partner/boyfriend/husband, right? So what about all those other guys who are awesome to be friends with? I loved that movie because it was funny and had some great one-liners, but it really did a disservice to all those Just Friends out there who have to justify their Friends Only status.

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